Campaigns for The Essex Serpent (Serpent’s Tail), When Breath Becomes Air (Vintage) and the Enid Blyton for Grown Ups series (Quercus) have been judged some of the best of 2016 at the Publishers Publicity Circle (PPC) annual awards dinner last night (13th February), recognising the publicists behind the campaigns.
Book publicists from publishing houses and freelance PR agencies gathered at Baltic in London to hear the results of the PPC annual awards, which this year spans 13 categories, thanks to the introduction of two new categories, one for debut titles and one for YA titles. The award for best sports campaign was also included in the programme this year for the first time.
Katherine Patrick, publicity director at William Collins and chair of the PPC, said the bar had been raised, as ever, calling it "another stellar year for PR campaigns" and commending each publicist nominated on their "phenomenally creative, original and brilliantly executed campaigns".
Anna-Marie Fitzgerald's campaign for Sarah Perry's The Essex Serpent took The Waterstones Hardback Fiction Award. The book was also named the Waterstones Book of the Year in December.
Ceri Maxwell Hughes at Vintage was recognised for her work on the campaign for When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, winning the Award for Hardback Non-Fiction sponsored by Books Are My Bag.
Elizabeth Masters at Quercus meanwhile won The NetGalley Award for a Generic Campaign, celebrating her work on the Christmas hit series Enid Blyton for Grown Ups by Bruno Vincent (Quercus). Roald Dahl Estate's Alice Broderick, with the support of Justin Somper, was highly commended in the category for the Roald Dahl 100th Anniversary campaign.
Ann Bissell at Harper Fiction won The Times & The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival Award for Best Debut Campaign with The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon (Harper Fiction) while the campaign for The Girls by Emma Cline (Vintage), led by Ruth Waldram, was highly commended.
Charlotte Bush, director of publicity and media relations at Cornerstone, and publicity director Francesca Russell, received the London Book Fair Award for Hardback Celebrity for their campaign for Set The Boy Free by Johnny Marr (Cornerstone).
The Cookery Book Award, sponsored by Foyles, went to Caroline Brown and Ellen Bashford at Octopus for their campaign for Simple by Diana Henry (Octopus).
Carolyn McGlone took the YALC Award for Best YA Campaign run for The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williams (David Fickling Books). Adele Minchin and Liz Hyder at Riot won the Children’s Book Award sponsored by the Daily Mail for their campaign for Beetle Boy by M G Leonard (Chicken House) and Pan Macmillan's Kate Green took the award for Best Sports Book Campaign, sponsored by The Sun, for her work promoting Watching the Wheels by Damon Hill (Pan Macmillan).
The Bookseller Award for Paperback Original Campaign: Fiction or Non-Fiction went to Sophie Portas' for Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body by Sara Pascoe (Faber & Faber), while Anna Frame' campaign for The Outrun by Amy Liptrot (Canongate) won the category for Second Edition Paperback: Fiction or Non-Fiction, sponsored by Nielsen.
Lily Capewell at Bloomsbury was counted as Best Newcomer, taking the award sponsored by Jo James, for her work on the campaign for Science and the City: The Mechanics Behind the Metropolis (Bloomsbury).
The judges this year were chaired by Sandra Taylor, head of events at Waterstones, who praised publicists as "some of the most dedicated and resourceful people working in the book industry". She was joined on the panel by Andy Quinn from Foyles, Cathy Renzenbrink from The Bookseller, Stuart Evers from Netgalley, freelance event organiser Jo James, Katherine Woodfine from YALC, and Sean Hamilton from The Sun.
‘"Judging this year's PPC awards was both a joy and a challenge given that we were presented with so many creative, strategic and sales-driving campaigns to choose from, said Taylor. "Publicists are some of the most dedicated and resourceful people working in the book industry and it was a pleasure to recognise and celebrate their outstanding work at last night's awards."
As voted for by PPC members, Roland Gulliver of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, took the title of events manager of the year, Margaret Houston and Dawn Vallance at the Mitchell Library Glasgow were the PPC's librarians of the year, and Sam Bendel from Sunday Brunch was voted journalist of the year.